The Cape canary is 11-13 cm in length. The adult male has a green back with black edging to the wing feathers wings and tail. The underparts, rump and tail sides are yellow, and the lower belly is white. The rear head and neck are grey, and the face is cinnamon. The female is similar, but with a less grey on the head. The juvenile has greenish-yellow underparts with heavy brown streaking. This species is easily distinguished from the yellow-fronted canary by its lack of black face markings.

Habitat and Distribution

It is a resident breeder in southern Africa and has been introduced to Mauritius and R?union. Its habitat is fynbos, grassland and gardens, preferably in highland areas. It builds a compact cup nest in a scrub.


The Cape canary is a common and gregarious seedeater.

Calls and Songs

Its call is tsit-it-it, and the song is warbled goldfinch-like trills and whistles given in display flight or from a high perch.